11 Ways to Go Greener in 2019 (And Save Money While Doing It)

2018 was quite the year for me, turning from a true carnivore and defying my dairy farmer heritage to become a vegan.  Despite that I did it for myself and my health, it opened up a whole new world to me: a keeping up with the planet, if you will. I began using chemical-free products, educating myself, and pushing to reduce my ecological footprint on earth. Having lived in California, it was pretty easy to recycle, to munch on veggies, to use eco alternates at restaurants and stores. But the moment we moved back here, my diet went from mostly-vegan to vegetarian, and we were faced with less options. Now it’s 2019, and I’m back on the vegan horse.

As a student, every dime is valuable to me, which is the only thing keeping me from single handedly saving the planet. So, with much research and trial and error, I’ve been able to use my Amazon Prime resources to compile a list of items that are going to change our home in 2019. And believe it or not, they cost as much as (or less than) their non-ecological counterparts.  

So, in an effort to make the earth a little better, here are some new, planet-friendly items to fill your cupboards with this coming 2019. If making your life a little greener isn’t on your goal list for this coming year, I highly suggest you tack in on there. It’s easier than it seems:

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1. Amber Glass Soap Dispensers (2 for $13)

These timeless beauties are BPA-free and just the right size and look for my kitchen and bathroom. I love amber-tinted glass, and since I’m working on making my own liquid hand soap (don’t roll your eyes – I’m doing this), I’m pumped to make this a zero waste project. But either way – how beautiful is an amber dispenser in a minimalist space?

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2. Stainless steel straw keychain ($10)

Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day. That’s enough to wrap the Earth 2.5 times. Do that everyday, and we’d be pretty saturated. If you’re not going to axe plastic straws from your dining table (because I know it’s hard), at least get one that’s specially made, reusable, and making a positive mark on the environment. If this seems like a wasteful purchase, good! Stop using straws altogether, you’re killing me softly.

3. A 3-piece biodegradable Scrub Brush set ($11)

3 pieces for $11! All eco-friendly, recyclable, and made of bamboo? I am so tired of looking at hard plastic, this just soothed my soul and my mind. I ordered some up as gifts this year, and they are more magic than they even promised to be; plus the look isn’t half bad. I no longer have a problem leaving my cleaning supplies out for everyone to see.

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4. Brown Paper Packaging ($14)

Listen: if buying beautiful wrapping paper gives you anxiety, you’re far from alone. Knowing it will be ripped to shreds is too much for my heart to handle, so I bought this beautiful, minimalist brown paper (but you can have it in white ($14), or black (currently $21 for a 3-pack, which is 250ft total), or red ($12)) since it easily recycles and looks beautiful. Plus, mine is on its third Christmas. That’s a lotta paper.

5. 100% Compostable Trash Bags ($15)

It’s nearly impossible to totally reduce your trash output. But so many of the items in our plastic trash bags don’t soak back into the soil, and leaving them in a plastic casing isn’t doing any favors. If everyone switched to these 100% compostable trash bags, there would be a little hope to how our garbage relapses into the planet. Plus, according to Nature, these UNNI ASTM bags cost less than their Glad alternates, and you can have them in bulk at your doorstep through Amazon Prime.  

6. Green Works Compostable Cleaning Wipes ($7)

Cleaning wipes that can carry back into environment, infused with naturally derived plant ingredients, and at a price that makes your wallet happy. It’s time to ditch our heavy bleaches and window cleaners, since they’re laden with chemicals.

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7. Scotch-Brite Green (Brown) Sponges ($4)

Scotch Brite comes in clutch with these sponges made from recycled paper and agave plant. They smell better, they stay fresh longer, and they’re easier on the environment. There’s no need for brightly-dyed sponges that go straight for the waste bin. These are even recyclable, when cleaned thoroughly.

8. ECOS Earth-Friendly Fruit & Veggie Wash ($7)

Soap box: if you’re not going to buy organic produce (because I get it, it costs more), you can still achieve an almost-perfect organic kitchen by washing your produce in organic wash, and soaking apples and other fruits and veggies in warm water. It doesn’t take out the GMOs, but this gentle organic wash will help make your produce healthier, so you can keep on your budget. Plus, the bottle is recyclable.

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9. Rechargeable Batteries  ($14 for 8-pack)

Amazon’s brand of rechargeable batteries may change the fate of the Energizer Bunny. Batteries are already expensive, so binging on a set that can recharge themselves is not only the most ecological choice, but makes you pretty economically savvy, as well. Being a tree hugger has its perks.

10. Mrs. Meyer’s laundry detergent ($10)

Now, look, you may be thinking “laundry detergent doesn’t need to be biodegradable,” and you’d be wrong for several reasons. Firstly, when a product is derived naturally from plants and biodegradable materials, it often means its creation process is better on the planet. And secondly, clothes are one of the biggest factors of consumer waste, which means these toxins are put back into the soil, too. Plus, something you put on yourself shouldn’t be riddled with chemicals. This $10 steal is capable of 64 loads of laundry, making it a friendly choice for your wallet and your wash bins. (If you’re pregnant or will be, wash your clothes in the good stuff! It’s better for baby – and for you!).

11. Natural Glass Meal Containers ($25)

(regular plastic price, $20)

We’re on a mission to Make Glass Great Again, since glass production is easier on the Earth (and because, hello, glass is quite biodegradable, plus lasts years, rather than a year). Instead of putting more plastic into the Earth – despite that the price tag is appealing – opt to fill your home and fridge with something that will be far more durable, last much longer, and make the Earth a little better. Plus, glass looks better too. Aesthetically beautiful fridges are what we’re all about.